Movie Review: Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis redeem the rom-com in Sleeping With Other People

During a very romantic-comedy chat with her smart-mouthed best friend (Natasha Lyonne), Lainey (Alison Brie) dismisses the idea that men and women can’t be friends: “This is the 21st century,” she protests. It is, and yet the quarter-century-old question posed by When Harry Met Sally still hangs over countless rom-coms, including Sleeping With Other People, the rom-com Lainey doesn’t admit she’s starring in. The small miracle of Leslye Headland’s second film as writer-director is not that it sidesteps its influences or shuns its genre. It’s that it somehow makes the lusty undercurrents of its male/female friendship unironically romantic and, at times, unapologetically sexy.

Headland doesn’t get there through coyness, either. Her film is upfront about sex; it begins with Lainey and Jake (Jason Sudeikis) losing their virginities to each other in college (complete with the key 2002 period detail of OK Go’s …

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